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Old 07-18-2011, 06:59 PM   #1
Lucky137
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Default Beginner Bottling Questions

Hey all,

I've wanted to brew my own beer for awhile, but never had the time/funds until a few weeks back. I went to my local homebrew store (I believe that's LHBS for short?) and purchased everything I needed, including ingredients for an american pale ale. The boil went great (incredible smells!) and it quickly fermented to around 5.5% ABV. It was recommended to me to ferment it in a primary fermenter for 7-10 days, and then transfer it to a glass carboy for another week or so before bottling. I ended up doing about 8 days primary, 7 in the secondary, and then I bottled.

My beginners book said that bottles will be ready to drink within a week for the impatient, so I figured I'd pop one open at this point to see where I was at. Unfortunately, it was barely carbonated at all. I've been reading up on possible reasons why, and here's what I found:

1) Not enough priming sugar: I added all the sugar to the wert before bottling, a total of 2/3 c corn sugar in a 4.33 gallon batch, so I don't think this was the issue.

2) Yeast is dead: I used only no-rinse sanitizer (which I'm assuming doesn't kill yeast, or else you'd have to rinse it), so I'm hoping (fingers crossed!) that it's not this either. Also, when I opened the bottle, there was a noticeable hiss (technical term?), albeit a quite small one, which unless I'm mistaken, can only result from some fermentation.

3) Temperature is not right: I'm storing the bottles in the same location as where I had my wert, which stayed pretty consistently at 64 degrees F during fermentation, though it is possible that it might be slightly colder now.

Also, I had a question: am I correct in assuming that there should be enough yeast floating around in the beer (i.e., not settled on the bottom) to prime after bottling? I tried to be super diligent about leaving every speck of gunky-stuff on the bottom of both of my fermenters, and I'm hoping that wasn't to a fault.

Anyway, thanks for any future input. This is my first every homebrew experience, so I know nothing about anything. Just want it to turn out well!


Thanks,

Nico M.

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Old 07-18-2011, 07:02 PM   #2
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4) Bad information....

The 3 weeks at 70 degrees, that we recommend is the minimum time it takes for average gravity beers to carbonate and condition. Higher grav beers take longer.

Stouts and porters have taken me between 6 and 8 weeks to carb up..I have a 1.090 Belgian strong that took three months to carb up.


Temp and gravity are the two factors that contribute to the time it takes to carb beer. But if a beer's not ready yet, or seems low carbed, and you added the right amount of sugar to it, then it's not stalled, it's just not time yet.

Everything you need to know about carbing and conditioning, can be found here Of Patience and Bottle Conditioning. With emphasis on the word, "patience."

Lazy Llama came up with a handy dandy chart to determine how long something takes in brewing, whether it's fermentation, carbonation, bottle conditioning....



If a beer isn't carbed by "x number of weeks" you just have to give them more time. If you added your sugar, then the beer will carb up eventually, it's really a foolroof process. All beers will carb up eventually. A lot of new brewers think they have to "troubleshoot" a bottling issue, when there really is none, the beer knows how to carb itself. In fact if you run beersmiths carbing calculator, some lower grav beers don't even require additional sugar to reach their minimum level of carbonation. Just time.

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Old 07-18-2011, 07:03 PM   #3
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You're way too early. Give it at least 3 weeks, that's 21 full days, in the bottle.

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Old 07-18-2011, 07:04 PM   #4
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Beer can take up to 21 days to carbonate in bottles, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. If your beer fermented then the yeast are alive and well!

Bottle carbing should take place at 70 degrees, so try and move them to a slightly warmer area if possible.

Also, C02 is absorbed by the beer MUCH better at lower temps, so on the next one you pop open to test try to refrigerated it 48 hours before you sample it!

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Old 07-18-2011, 07:05 PM   #5
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Obey the Revvy!!!!!

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Old 07-18-2011, 07:13 PM   #6
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Wow, "Bad Information" is putting it lightly I think... Thanks so much for all of the quick responses! I guess I'll go ahead and let it age awhile more.

About the temperature, is it just related to the speed of fermentation? Or are there other qualities that this variable can affect?


Thanks again,

Nico M.

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Old 07-18-2011, 07:24 PM   #7
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The 70 degrees is about fermentation (the little bit that occurs when you add the priming sugar). After that is complete the beer absorbs c02 better when cold, so the carbonation moves from the headspace in the bottle to disolved in the liquid.

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Old 07-18-2011, 08:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Obey the Revvy!!!!!
I swear I see Revvy replying to at least one thread a day regarding bottling/carbonation. The search function is mans best friend!!!
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:27 PM   #9
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I think the biggest question is,when you "added all the priming sugar" was it just dumped in? or did you mix it with 2C of boiling water in the bottling bucket? Exactly how did you add the priming sugar?
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I think the biggest question is,when you "added all the priming sugar" was it just dumped in? or did you mix it with 2C of boiling water in the bottling bucket? Exactly how did you add the priming sugar?
Goo point made here. Along the same lines...did you mix the solution sufficiently before bottling?
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